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Petition Challenges Current CA Abortion Law for Minors

Taylor Conrad

A controversial measure that would force California minors to notify their parents before having an abortion is 40,000 signatures away from earning a place on the 2006 California ballot.

The Parent’s Right to Know petition, which challenges the current California law allowing a minor to get an abortion without parental notification or consent, was posted on student-news last week and elicited a handful of responses. Most were in disagreement with the goal of the petition, though one student agreed.

Messengers of Life, the group who sent out the initial e-mail, asked for support in promoting Parent’s Right to Know and Child Protection initiative, which would require doctors to notify parents or guardians 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor. According to the Web site,, the group needs 900,000 total signatures by the end of April and as of March 21, they had 865,105 signatures.

Currently 40 states have a similar law in place, according to the Family Research Council.

Junior Michelle Blackford said, “As a parent I don’t need another judicial entity telling me how to raise my child. And I don’t need someone else telling me or my minor child what to do and how she should do it—that’s my job.”

Senior Tessa Robinette feels that the petition oversteps its bounds.

“I think it is an attempt to legislate morality, which cannot and should not be done,” Robinette said.

In a post to student-news, sophomore Hai Tran, a Choice USA member, said that there is a large myth behind parental involvement with abortions. ChoiceUSA’s Web site argues that minors should have confidentiality when it comes to personal issues, such as contraception, treatment of drug addiction, and abortion. Those who argue for a parent’s right to know point to the fact that a minor cannot undergo any other medical procedure without parental consent and say that the law should be no different for abortions.

“In some cases, I don’t think parents can make the right choice for their daughter. A girl needs to make the decision on her own,” Tran said. “I don’t think this law does anything to protect girls, even though that’s what they’re making it out to be.”

Abortion has deep roots in American history. According to the ChoiceUSA Web site, in 1782, books about causing an abortion were largely distributed and from 1840 to 1880, abortion was widely advertised. Abortion was one of the first medical specialties in the U.S. and it wasn’t until 1873 that the Comstock Act shut down the legal abortion procedure and forced it to go underground making it more expensive, less accessible and more dangerous.

“This law is going to force [my daughter] to have a conversation with me and destroy the trust that’s there,” said Blackford. “So, instead, she’s going to go somewhere that’s not legal and unsafe and now I’m burying her at 16 or 17.”

Tran said that the Mills chapter of ChoiceUSA will meet to discuss what they can do on campus to address the issue.